Symphonic marathon

Symphonic marathon

The State Academic Symphony Orchestra, under the guidance of People’s Artiste Alexander Anisimov, has opened the season at the Belarusian State Philharmonic Society, providing an unforgettable impression for all music lovers, with two concerts being performed on the same evening, both seeing a full house: an original children’s programme and classical event for adults.


 It’s likely that the speech of the famous scientific figure wasn’t very much clear to children (there were enough teenagers and children in the hall) but provided several intellectual minutes for elder generation.

The development of the space topic in the Icarus on the Edge of Time multi-media children’s performance, when the romance of flight by the first Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has long faded away, was both unexpected and intriguing. Meanwhile, the appearance of the theoretical physician and correspondent member of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Lev Tomilchik, on the philharmonic stage was an even greater surprise. The scientist briefly, and with a humorous note, told the audience about the scientific idea behind the proposed performance.

The basis for this unusual project was work by the scientists and science populariser, Brain Greene, which has inspired one of the prominent contemporary composers Philip Glass to create magical music. Some time later, a video sequence, shot by the English avant-garde directors, Alan Holmes and Alan Taylor, was added.

Those keen on space fantasy are perfectly aware of the story of a boy who flew to a black hole and returned after several millennia. It’s performed in its musical variant more often at scientific festivals rather than in philharmonic halls. Nevertheless, Mr. Anisimov is convinced that the performance represents not an idea for physics lessons but pure art.

“Of course, we have here a synthesis of science, literature, music and cinematography… I admire all these things and it’s not the first time we have presented projects like this to the public, combining various genres. It seems to me that Icarus on the Edge of Time appeals to both children and adults, just as it was intended to,” commented Mr. Anisimov.

The author’s text, translated into the Belarusian language, was written by popular showman and TV host, Dmitry Kokhno. The proposal to co-operate with maestro Anisimov in such an unusual format was a true unexpectedness for him. “Everyone understands that my participation in the project is, softly speaking, surprising. When Mr. Anisimov called me and invited for rehearsal, frankly speaking, I, put it mildly was shocked. The appearance with the symphony orchestra on the stage was the greatest trial; it is very honourable.”

The second part of the Symphony Marathon represented a classical programme from concert #1 by Frédéric Chopin and Carmina Burana cantatas by Carl Orff. It was more familiar in its sound, yet no less brilliant in its performance. It’s no surprise that pianist and Honoured Artiste of Russia, Alexander Gindin, was encored by spectators several times.

A separate advantage was the use of multi-media for enlightening purposes: during the concert a portrait of the composer appeared on the big screen, as well the names of all parts of the piece. This undoubtedly enhances the audience’s experience.

By Irina Ovsepyan
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